From the CEO

I sit at the Frankfurt airport and write these lines. I am on my way to Toronto for the Candidates 2024. The tournament starts from the 3rd of April 2024 but I reach on 30th. This is because I wanted to get over the jet lag. Everything surrounding my trip to Canada was dicey. First and foremost - the visa. When the players themselves were struggling to get them, I knew that my chances were pretty slim. But it all worked out and I got my visa on 21st of March. We booked the flight ticket and I told Amruta if she could help me find a good hotel to stay in. More than a good hotel, I needed a place with good wifi. 

Photo: Conor Samuel

Just as Amruta got into action mode, I received a message from a subscriber of ChessBase India Hari Raghavan, with whom I had exchanged a couple of messages before. He asked me, "Sagarbhai, how is your preparation for Candidates going on?" I replied, "It's going well. Just got my visa and booked my flight, now just trying to find a hotel." Six hours later, Hari replied back, "Don't worry Sagarbhai, your accommodation is done! One of my friends in Toronto has a home. He is a bachelor and lives alone and has a room!" Wow! I was flabbergasted. The love and kindness with which the offer was made, I was overwhelmed. Apart from the financial help that this offer would provide me with (25 days in Canada was surely going to be an expensive affair) what touched me was the intensity with which the action was taken. In roughly 12 hours from now, I will reach Toronto! Stay tuned for my vlog to know more and keep abreast of the coverage.

One other point I wanted to discuss in this newsletter was about Tracy Alison - the winner of COB 8 Homecoming. She is someone about whom I got to know just a couple of weeks ago and her story is extremely inspiring. Tracy learnt chess during the pandemic and since then she has played 35000 games on with a time control of 3+0. Think about it - 35,000 games in roughly 3.5 years, that's almost 10000 games per year! Which is roughly 30 games a day! Tracy hardly knew any openings, she didn't know endgames, she didn't even know the names of the tactics. It of course goes without saying that she didn't know chess notations! But what she did know was how to make good moves!

And with that she managed to win the COB title. Playing on stream for the first time, Tracy should immense control on her nerves and made sure she brought the title home. I was of course amazed by the approach she had taken to chess improvement. No trainer, no theory, just playing and she managed to reach an online Elo of 1800! And I think she is only going to keep getting better. Tracy's story reminds me that there are many ways to reach your destination if you are patient and do something with all your heart. For now she has become an inspiration to thousands of chess players across the country. Thank you Tracy for opening up new horizons and expanding our understanding of how chess improvement works. - Sagar Shah

Check out the complete interview with Tracy

GRENKE Open R1-3: 12-year-old Henry Edward Tudor survives 136 moves against top seed Arjun Erigaisi

50 players have made a perfect start at GRENKE Chess Open A 2024. Only two Indians - IM Divya Deshmukh and IM Manish Anto Cristiano F have started their event with a hat-trick of wins. The top seed, GM Arjun Erigaisi was held to a draw by promising Romanian talent - 12-year-old FM Henry Edward Tudor. The game reached at a queen vs rook and knight endgame after 34 moves. The boy defended for 102 moves and built a fortress to claim an important half point against the world no.14. 935 players are taking part in Open A (>1950), 1174 in Open B (<2000) and 793 in Open C (1400-1640), making this the biggest open chess tournament. Round 4 starts today at 9 a.m. local time, 1:30 p.m. IST. Photos: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess

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Grandmaster Nigel Short realised that every tournament win has a unique narrative and challenge. In this exceptional chess book, Short discusses eight of his foremost tournament wins, describing the drama with insightful game annotations and entertaining anecdotes. For those wanting to win in chess, this book is the place to start.

English GM Nigel Short was one of the most successful chess players of the 1980s and 1990s and was still in the top 100 well into his 50s. The peak of his career came in 1993, when he challenged for the World Championship in a match against Garry Kasparov.

Today, we have a big 10% discount on Winning! Just use the Coupon code "NIGEL10" to avail the discount. The offer is valid till 6th April 2024 - so hurry up and get it now!


GRENKE Classic R5-6: Magnus wins two in-a-row, storms into sole lead

Magnus Carlsen (NOR) won both games on the third day of GRENKE Chess Classic 2024. He is now the new sole leader 4/6. In the fifth round, he defeated Vincent Keymer. The Germany no.1 made a tactical error in the endgame against the world no.1. In Round 6, Magnus avenged his opening round loss against Richard Rapport (ROU). The Artist did not defend his position correctly against the onslaught on his king by the Norwegian. He exchanged his queen for Magnus' two rooks and arrived at a lost endgame. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) won an interesting game against Rapport in Round 5. Today is a rest day. Classic Round 7 and 8 will start tomorrow Saturday 30th March from 3 p.m. local time, 7:30 p.m. IST. Photos: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess Classic


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Prraneeth Vuppala triumphs at Fagernes Slow Blitz 2024

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New: Master the Sicilian Kalashnikov by Fabien Libiszewski

What to do against 1.e4? Many players choose to open with the Sicilian to play for a win with Black and get interesting positions, but they are afraid of the long forced variations in the Najdorf, the Dragon or the Sveshnikov. The Kalashnikov Variation (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6!?) is an interesting alternative. The positions offer a wealth of tactical and strategic possibilities, but the theory is straightforward. In a new course, French GM Fabien Libiszewski shows how to score in the Kalashnikov Variation. Grab this new Fritztrainer and strengthen your theoretical arsenal. Photo: ChessBase

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Ashutosh Kumar triumphs at Chess for Everyone Rating Open 2024 in Mizoram

Ashutosh Kumar scored 8/9 to win 44th Robula Chess Trophy, Chess for Everyone Rating Open 2024 in Aizawl, Mizoram. Ashutosh won the tournament with a round to spare as he score eight straight wins. His last round loss did not affect his championship chances. Lalbiak Mawia, H Lalrinthanga and Saingura Sailo scored 7.5/9 each. They were placed second to fourth according to tie-breaks. The total prize fund of the tournament was ₹95700. The top three prizes were ₹25000, ₹10000 and ₹7000 along with a trophy and certificate each respectively. This is Ashutosh's first rating tournament triumph of the year. His last rating tournament victory was in June 2014, nearly a decade ago. The objective of Chess for Everyone tournaments is to have a low entry barrier of only ₹250, encourage maximum players to take part in rating tournaments and gain rating. Photos: Mizoram Chess Association

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